Psalm Saturday: Psalm 82, a Psalm of Asaph

A Psalm of Asaph.

1 God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
2 How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
they walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

6 I said, You are gods,
sons of the Most High, all of you;
7 nevertheless, like men you shall die,
and fall like any prince.

8 Arise, O God, judge the earth;
for you shall inherit all the nations!

Psalm Saturday Psalm 142

We often mistake the silence of God as a sign that He is not present among us. Yet, even though we do not hear the Lord or see Him, in the deepest depth of our soul we believe the Lord is indeed watching over us, providing for our needs, and caring for us. God’s silence draws out our faith. Do we believe or don’t we? We can count on God in this lifetime and in the next. We can rest assured knowing He alone will judge the righteous and the damned.

In this psalm, written by Asaph, we can see a God sitting as the ultimate judge over a plethora of human judges. These judges lived in every town of Israel. They served as the Lords’ judicial representatives among the people. They were supposed to be beyond reproach. They were supposed to do right and be good. But anyone reading the book of Judges knows that was not the case. They made themselves gods, similar to how you and I make ourselves gods when it comes to our life. These men, like us, fell short, perverting truth and justice to meet their own selfish wants and desires. God warns them, telling them that they will be judged for their misdeeds. But they refused to listen.

Asaph’s prayer is that God would judge the whole earth, not just the nation of Israel. He recognizes that the world has become infected by the sinfulness of men and only a just and righteous God could deliver His people from ruin.

Do you pray for the world we live in today? I encourage you to do so. This world is hurting, suffering, and perverting truth with lies. The pain seems almost overwhelming, but as believers, we know that we can count on the Lord. His truth will deliver us.

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Beyond Blessed: Never Stop Learning

Friday night, May 18, certainly goes down as a memorable life moment that I was honored and privileged to share with fellow graduates, university faculty,  friends, and family. It marks the culmination of years of effort and investment, both on my end, but more importantly on the part of others. I am not a self-made man, but simply the return on investment nurtured by so many incredible people. I was proud to have the love of my life, Sweet T accompany me across the stage at the Amberton University graduation. What an honor to celebrate this achievement with someone who has stood by me, encouraged me, and believed in me. This would not have been possible without you. I think back to all the teachers, recent and long past, who shared their time and knowledge with me. And I recollect the counsel and support of family, friends, and mentors that got me to this point. Without you all, I would not have been able to accomplish this goal and achieve this moment of joy. I am beyond blessed. 

Me and T

I’m not one who thinks that college is for everybody or that believes you need to get a degree to be successful in life. I know far too many people who have found success without ever getting a degree. But, for many, a college education opens doors it wouldn’t otherwise. And as one of our speakers noted on Friday night, knowledge and an education is something no one can ever take away from you. Regardless of what you do or what your calling in life is, I urge you to never stop learning. Be a life-long learner.

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It is true that I didn’t take the traditional route to get here. That’s been true for most of my journey on this road called life. I learned long ago that life doesn’t always follow a straight trajectory. Perseverance, resilience, determination, and a ton of prayer can get you from here to there. You just got to find a way to keep on keepin’ on. And you’ll definitely need the support of others along the way.

I am eternally grateful to the sea of teachers, instructors, and professors who helped me along the way. Yours is truly a worthy profession. Thank you. To my myriad of mentors, who the Lord so graciously provided: Thank you. To my family and friends—thank you. To my precious Mom and my parents-in-law–Thank you.

To my bride—Sweet T—Thank you.

With the completion of one adventure another one awaits. While I’m not entirely sure what the next stretch looks like, I do know that God is good and that as the next chapter is written, He will be walking alongside me. Never lose your sense of adventure.

Yes! I am beyond blessed. My prayer is that you may be also.

Amberton 2018

The Amazing Blessings of Living a Spiritually Rich Life

Monday morning ushers in the beginning of another work week. With a full week of activity ahead, Sweet T and I are looking forward to celebrating my Mom’s 80th birthday this coming weekend. In the decade since my Dad passed, we’ve watched my Mom grow deeper in her spiritual walk and grow closer to God. This has been a true blessing to us and all the people who know her. My Mom is a social butterfly; always kind, always generous. She’s deeply loved by her friends, many of whom she’s know for decades. She’s never met a stranger and she’s always willing to help someone.  Mom is a great example of what it means to live the Bible you read. She does that every day in the way she treats other people and goes about her daily routines. She’s got an incredibly bubbly spirit despite not always having the easiest of lives. Mom often reminds me of the popular pericope “The Widow’s Mite” found in the Synoptic Gospels of Mark and Luke.

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The Widow’s Mite (Gospel of Mark)

41 And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.

Mark 12:41-44 (ESV)

My Monday Morning Cup

The Widow’s Mite (Gospel of Luke)

1 Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box. 2 He also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3 He said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4 For they all offered their gifts out of their wealth. But she, out of her poverty, put in everything she had to live on.”

Luke 21:1-4 (NET)

The story is a lesson in poverty and prosperity based on the weights and measures of God’s economic scale. The widow, while physically poor, was rich spiritually. In contrast, the scribes, dressed in their long robes of pride, were rich physically but stood before the widow spiritually bankrupt. They had everything and gave only that which cost them nothing. She had nothing yet gave God her all.

There is more to walking the walking then simply talking the talk. Actions have always spoken louder than words. James, the half-brother of Jesus, makes it clear that our belief is expressed through our deeds. What we do, in other words, reflects what comes to our mind when we think of God.

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14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and filled, without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

James 2:14-17 (ESV)

Me and MomSweet T and MomIMG_3236

My Mom will readily tell you that she doesn’t understand all the things of God. She has often said she doesn’t know her Bible as well as she would like. Yet, her actions show how deeply God’s truth is engrained in her. Her faith is self-evident in how she greets each day and every person she meets. Sweet T and I are thankful that the Lord has blessed us with her and grateful that she continues to be a blessing to others.

One of Mom’s gifts that she readily shares with others is her art. As long as I can remember, my Mom has always done artwork, particularly molding and sculpting original pieces from clay. This has provided her with the opportunity to spend quiet time with God and to share her love of art with others through the pieces she produces. Her artists circle consists of an eclectic blend of friends, each with their own unique talents.

Original Clay Pieces made by Mom © Karin I. Bantau

Mom models living a spiritually rich life. When we put God first, good things happen.

How about you? Do you feel spiritually rich today? I pray you do.

P.S. If you see Mom this week be sure to give her a birthday hug. Be sure to tell those you love that you love them. Better yet, do something that shows them how much they mean to you. None of us are promised tomorrow. Amen.

God is good all the time. All the time God is good!

Be Blessed and be a blessing.

#Spiritual Growth #More of Him Less of Me #Blessings